We evaluated the efficacy of non-competitive N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor antagonist MK-801 (dizocilpine) as an adjuvant therapy in experimental neonal bacterial meningitis. Meningitis was induced by injecting 10(6) colony forming units of Escherichia coli into the cisterna magna. MK-801 3 mg/kg was given as a bolus intravenous injection, 30 min before the induction of meningitis. MK-801 did not down-modulate the inflammatory parameters, such as increased intracranial pressure, cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leukocytosis, increased lactate and TNF-alpha levels in the CSF, and hypoglycorrhachia observed in the meningitis group. MK-801 did not significantly attenuate the elevated glutamate concentration in the CSF. However, MK-801 showed some neuroprotective effects as evidenced by significant attenuation of cerebral lipid peroxidation products (conjugated dienes) and increase of brain high-energy phosphate compounds (ATP and PCr). Improvement in cerebral cortical cell membrane Na+, K+ -ATPase activity did not reach a statistical significance. These results suggest that MK-801 was effective in ameliorating brain injury in neonatal bacterial meningitis, although it failed to attenuate the inflammatory responses
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